We find ourselves in a moment when many artists are speaking out about their fears surrounding the rapid evolution of technology and artificial intelligence and the potential impact it might have on the art world. WangShui (b. 1986, Dallas, Texas), however, is an artist who thinks the exact opposite. Choosing to fully embrace technology and AI in their creative process, WangShui explores the hallucinatory states between detail and distance, transparency and opacity, knowing and unknowing. WangShui's utterly unique aluminium canvases are visually striking and transform depending on the light around them. We sat down with the artist this month to discuss their upcoming debut at the Venice Biennale and their thoughts on the current conversations surrounding technology and AI.

WangShui's 'Hyphal Stream (Isle of Vitr.°.ous)' (2022) on view at La Biennale de Lyon. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.

1. While many artists seem to be afraid of technology and how it's evolving, you are an artist that chooses to fully embrace technology and its potential to enhance the creative process. Can you speak about your relationship with technology and how it influences your art?

It’s impossible for me not to contend with our obsession with data at this point in history. Integrating different modes of technology in my work are just ways to understand the transmission of that data and how it augments our desires.

2. For your paintings, you made the decision to swap out a typical canvas in place of pieces of aluminium. Could you speak about how you utilise aluminium and what it was about raw, industrial materials that excites you?

The aluminium panels have an important relationship to digital screens in how they project light from within. The abrasion and painting process is a way for me to both reveal and conceal that light.

WangShui with their artwork 'Description of Ambiguous Congress' (2023), which is currently on view at the Guggenheim, New York. Courtesy of the artist.

3. One of your aluminium works – ‘Description of Ambiguous Congress’ (2023) – is currently at the Guggenheim in New York as part of their group show, ‘Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility’. Could you speak about the particular piece and what the “edge of visibility” means to you?

I’m interested in the more peripheral dimensions of perception. Images that require de-focalized viewing, for example, reach much richer dimensions of our consciousness than easily identifiable subjects.

4. Artificial Intelligence is everywhere in the media right now. As someone who integrates generative AI into their process, could you speak about some of the misconceptions people may have about it and why you choose to use it?

I have no interest in the media’s obsession with the binary opposition between human and machines. Machines have already surpassed humans in terms of processing power so it’s time to cultivate these generative tools. I hope AI can eventually fix our sad species.

A detail of one of WangShui's aluminium works. Courtesy of the Rockbund Art Museum.

5. Beyond the Venice Biennale, what future projects do you have lined up?

I have a solo exhibition with Kurimanzutto gallery in New York coming up and I will also be partaking in the Sharjah Biennial.

Installation view at Haus der Kunst. Courtesy of the artist.